LogoDo you snore loudly? Do you always feel sleepy during the day? Then chances are that you may be suffering from sleep apnea. It is a disorder where your upper airway is narrowed which causes your breathing to be difficult or completely blocked. If you are one among the many suffering from this condition then this news could particularly interest you.

The latest results from the landmark study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea is apparently linked to an increased threat of death among middle aged people especially men. These findings reveal that there could be a strong risk of death due to sleep apnea.

On the whole it was supposedly seen that study participants with severe sleep apnea had a 46 percent increased threat of death as opposed to those who did not have the mentioned breathing problem. The risk of death was apparently more common in men as they could supposedly die even from heart failure if they had severe sleep apnea. The study claimed that men between the ages of 40 and 70 who had acute sleep apnea were twice as more expected to die as opposed to those who did not have this problem.

At the beginning of the study, the experts from the Sleep Heart Health Study (SHHS) analysed more than 6,000 men and women aged 40 years. The sleep apnea in them ranged from mild, moderate, severe or no sleep apnea. They conducted a standard-at-home sleep test. Post 8 years it was seen that participants who had severe sleep apnea at the time of enrollment were one and a half times more expected to die from any reason irrespective of age, gender, race or weight. Apparently, it also doesn’t count whether that individual had medical issues like heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure or whether he was a present or a former smoker.

The results seem to have verified the findings from smaller, community-based studies which have proposed increased regularity of death among adults with sleep apnea. One of the most important study centers related to sleep apnea is SHHS. Prior findings from SHHS have revealed that untreated sleep apnea have an increased threat of problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, heart failure and stroke. Other problems like overweight, obesity and diabetes may also develop thanks to untreated sleep apnea. Adding to it is the problem of excessive daytime sleepiness which leads to low performance in work or studies and increases the threat of death and injuries from drowsy driving and other accidents. It is claimed that more than 12 million American adults are said to be suffering from sleep apnea and they not even detected or treated.

To restore normal breathing when sleeping, treatments that are used are change in the lifestyle, mouthpieces, and surgery and breathing devices such as continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP. To improve sleep-related quality of life these treatments appear to play a role as they apparently decrease the severity of symptoms such a loud snoring or excessive day-time sleepiness. Clinical trails are necessary to test weather treating sleep apnea lowers the threat of death and cardiovascular diseases.

This research ‘Sleep-Disordered Breathing and Mortality: A Prospective Cohort Study,’ is published in the August 18 issue of the open-access journal PLoS Medicine.